On September 17, President Barack Obama was busy playing politics with the American auto industry. In campaign speeches delivered in the swing state of Ohio he railed against imported automotive components that are illegally subsidized by the Chinese government. To cap that off, that very day his administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) citing those unfair trade practices — which totaled $1 billion in Chinese subsidies in the period of 2009 to 2011 — and their impact on American workers.
Of course, the attendees at his speeches (a specified target audience including Democrats and auto industry workers) were tickled pink with his rhetoric. Likewise, left-leaning elected officials praised his WTO filing while the press gave him, as usual, positive coverage. Even Republicans were, in their own way, in agreement with Obama, with presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying it was too little, too late (which still means Obama’s protestations were acceptable).
Critical thinkers and constitutionalists, on the other hand, should find fault — and lots of it — with Obama’s crusade du jour. His case against China is almost comical and certainly hypocritical, because his administration is guilty of the very thing that he accuses China of (but on an even greater scale). He is after all, the president who claims he saved General Motors. Under his watch, the federal government contributed $76 billion to GM and Chrysler (of which taxpayers are still owed a whopping $42 billion). Those are, without a doubt, government subsidies (especially so as any alleged loans go unpaid), and the original total was some 76 times greater than the amount that Obama claims China has kicked in to their automotive industry.
If any trading partner should be angered over government-enabled business activities, it should be the Chinese. GM’s Shanghai operations rule the passenger car market in that country and GM now sells more cars in China that it does in the United States. Washington’s unfathomable benevolence to GM (which garnered it the derisive but well-deserved nickname of “Government Motors”), the company’s crutch, should be perceived as an unfair advantage when compared against China’s domestically-based manufacturers as well as foreign-owned firms operating in the country or shipping their products to it.
It’s almost hard to believe that the land of the free and the home of the brave is beating communist China at its own game. But, such can be expected when we have a president who is as unprincipled as ours. It may be offensive to some — an affront to the honor of his office — to call Obama “un-American,” but he is, without a doubt, a “non-Americanist.” That is, he abuses the powers vested in him in decidedly unconstitutional manners, enlarging the scope, size, and purpose of our federal system far beyond any manner in which it was ever intended. For someone who claims to be a constitutional scholar, he is anything but a constitutional supporter. He appears to not even believe in the basal tenets of our formative document. Rather, Obama has Chinese-like tendencies, founded upon the preachings of the Communist Manifesto.
The auto industry bailouts are just one piece of the gigantic puzzle that shows his non-Americanist ways. Yet, they show perfectly what makes the man, his administration, and his legacy.
Obama should have let the deeply-flawed General Motors collapse and its market share and production be replaced by other players (including Ford, which did not take public funds) and/or he should have allowed the legal system to restructure GM under bankruptcy proceedings. But, rather than allowing the free markets and, more importantly, the rule of law to dictate GM’s future, he exerted public energy and monetary resources to make the company whole. He granted GM special favor — even illegal favor both under constitutional principles and bankruptcy law — not afforded other companies. The State under Obama’s watch was allowed, and even compelled, to pick winners and losers in the marketplace by assuming ownership and management of what once were privately-held assets. That’s something you see in China.
Likewise, it’s likely that the bailout was done just as much to offer life support to the United Auto Workers union as to the corporation itself, a communist trick of the trade that gives labor special exaggerated powers rather than the equal footing that exists in a true free economy.
Obama’s subsidization of the American auto industry was wrong on all counts — immoral, illogical, and illegal — just like the Chinese subsidies that he is now railing against. If Americans can see the errors in China’s ways and passionately despise their methods of doing business, then maybe they can think critically and see that America, or at least Obama, has been guilty of the same. If they do, and don’t clamor for change at the polls this November or in Obama’s ways of doing things if he is re-elected, then we are in for even more dangerous Chinese-like economic controls as our economy struggles to rise from its doldrums. And, that is not the cure for what ails us; communism in any form has never worked and it never will. Just ask the North Koreans, Cubans, and, yes, the Chinese how they appreciate their ways of life and "freedoms."
Bob Confer is a contributor to The New American. He is the vice-president of Confer Plastics, Inc. and a weekly columnist for the Greater Niagara Newspapers.
This originally appeared in the 18 September 2012 The New American at: